Posts tagged ‘United States’

Should older men (75 and up) get the PSA test for prostate cancer?

exam table

exam table (Photo credit: Lynn Kelley Author)

Over the life of this blog, I have shared my experience with prostate cancer. I was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago. The cancer was found at an earlier stage, so I elected to have radiation treatment. So far, my PSA levels have been low, and that’s a good thing. HOWEVER, I respect the fact that cancer is a tough and sneaky foe, so I will continue with my PSA tests.

There is a study that came out in the October 16th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that suggests that many doctors order PSA tests for men 75 and older. Current guidelines, according to HealthDay.com, advise against PSA tests for elderly men. HealthDay reporter Steven Reinberg has the lastest information.

As I have stated many times in this blog, I am not a doctor or a health care professional. I’m simply a baby boomer trying to inspire other men to see the doctor. I certainly do not have the authority to suggest whether older men need these tests.

I do feel a guy needs to meet with his doctor to discuss prostate cancer screening, and the earlier the better. While many prostate cancers are slow growing, men 75 and older have a perfect right to discuss prostate cancer screening with their physicians.  At the end of the day, a decision needs to satisfy the doctor, the patient and the patient’s family.

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Are you getting a quality sleep?

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to get a quality sleep night after night. Think about it. In this age of computers, laptops and smart phones, a lot can distract you. Do you ever wake up at 3 a.m., with the urge to check your phone for the latest text or email?

Times are changing and a new study shows that chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be association with poor sleep habits…and that means too MUCH sleep or too LITTLE sleep.

The following article by HeathDay.com quotes Dr. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to Badr, “when and how you sleep is just as important as what you eat or how you exercise.”

The article suggests adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

You’ll also see a link to sleep and sleep disorders from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What to do if you’re bedridden — guest post by Austin Sheeley

A Hill-Rom hospital bed

A Hill-Rom hospital bed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being bedridden is a challenge both physically and mentally. You may start to feel lonely or depressed and your body  could develop bedsores. But remember, you’re not alone. This is an issue many people have faced. You may not be able  to control the circumstances that made you bedridden, but  you can control how you adapt and grow because of it.

Caring for Your Mental State

If you’re bedridden, don’t allow boredom, or worse yet, depression take over. Instead, keep yourself mentally active  and have some fun! Here are just a few ways.

1.    Pray/Meditate
Prayer and meditation help us center ourselves and remember  what’s important. They’ve helped many, many people  through trying times.
2.    Practice Thankfulness
Many psychologists believe that true, lasting happiness  comes not from getting everything you want, but from being  thankful for everything you have. Don’t let life’s  trials stop you from seeing life’s blessings.
3.    Learn!
Now is the perfect time to learn. Take an online class. Or  simply choose a subject that interests you and learn  everything you can about it. Thanks to computers and the  internet you may even be able to get a job or do volunteer  work online.
4.    Do Physical Activities From Bed
Even though you can’t run a 4K at the moment, that  doesn’t mean you can’t do any physical activities. If  you’re able, try playing guitar, knitting, or doing other  simple things from bed.
5.    Do Good for Others
Some believe that true happiness comes from doing good for  others. Send a loved one an encouraging email. Call a lonely  friend. Answer people’s questions online, or provide  encouraging feedback to one of the internet’s many wannabe  authors.
6.    Read
If ever there was a good time to catch up on reading, this  is it. See if your caretaker can bring you some books from  the library.

Caring for Your Physical State

Another way to avoid becoming depressed is to take good care  of your physical body. Now more than ever it’s important  to—

1.    Eat Healthy
Proper eating will help you maintain strength and avoid  physical decline. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and  make sure to get some protein. Avoid excessive sugars or  fatty foods.
2.    Drink Lots of Water
Water is important for circulation and cleansing so you can  stay healthy.
3.    Exercise If You Can
Some bedridden people may be able to walk across the room.
Others can sit up in a chair for a while. Whatever you can  do,  do it—even if it’s simply rolling from side  to side in bed.
4.    Reposition Yourself Every 2 Hours

If you can, reposition yourself every two hours with the  help of a bed rail or bed trapeze. This will help you  prevent bedsores—injuries to the skin caused by the  prolonged pressure of lying in one position.
5.    Use Pressure Prevention Products
In addition to repositioning yourself, you may want to use a  pressure prevention pad or mattress. These products help  prevent bedsores and can allow current bedsores to heal.
Bony areas of your body, such as hips, elbows, and the back  of feet, are particularly susceptible to bedsores so  consider getting a cushion or bed wedge to protect them.
6.    Keep Your Skin Clean
Ask your caregiver to regularly wash your skin with mild  soap and warm water, dry it off and inspect it daily for  bedsores. Depending on your condition, you may be able to do  some of the inspecting yourself.

Austin Sheeley is a senior health blogger for home medical  supplies store, http://www.justhomemedical.com, which offers a wide  variety of pressure prevention pads and other bedsore  related products.

Baby boomers, try heart-healthy volunteering

English: A sample of a wrist style blood press...

English: A sample of a wrist style blood pressure monitor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you do a good deed, you feel better. It makes you feel better about life and your fellow man. Now there’s evidence that volunteering can help boomers reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a condition that’s a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.

An article at HealthDay.com examines a study, scheduled for publication in the journal Psychology and Aging, that involved over a thousand adults between the ages of 51 and 91. The study suggests volunteering can be a heart-healthy activity.

65 million Americans are affected by high blood pressure.  The article also includes a link to information on preventing this deadly condition that, many times, doesn’t have symptoms.

So for you boomers out there, volunteer in the community. Your heart will thank you.

Seven mistakes nearly all back-pain sufferers make. Expert debunks common myths — guest post by Jesse Cannone

Back pain is one of the most common health issues in the United States, with up to 80 percent of the population suffering the condition at some point in one’s life.

“But this exceedingly high number is just the beginning of the problem, because multiple studies indicate that roughly 70 percent of back surgeries fail,” says Jesse Cannone, a back-pain expert and author of “The 7-Day Back Pain Cure,” (www.losethebackpain.com). “It’s so common that there’s a name for it – failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS.”

One recent study monitored 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation database; half of those on disability endured back surgery, half did not. After two years, only 26 percent of those who had surgery returned to work. Additionally, 41 percent of those who had surgery saw a drastic increase in painkiller use.

“The success rate for the most common treatments is pathetically low, so it’s no surprise people often struggle years or decades with back pain, with few ever finding lasting relief,” Cannone says. “The majority of back surgeries are not only ineffective, but most could have been completely avoided.”

He reviews seven common mistakes made by back-pain sufferers:

• Continuing a treatment that doesn’t work: One of Cannone’s clients experienced 70 treatments with a chiropractor, resulting in no relief. “Here’s a general rule to follow,” he says. “If you see no improvement after going through a three-month period of treatment, consider making a change.”

• Failing to solve the problem the first time: Take pain seriously the first time. Cannone’s own mother suffered a significant bout of back pain, which subsided after a few days. But two years later it came back, and the second time was so debilitating she couldn’t work. “If she had taken the first bout more seriously, she probably would have prevented the second, more debilitating bout.”

• Thinking you’re too healthy or fit to have back pain: Staying in shape is always a good idea, but it does not make you invulnerable. People who train their body can be more prone to back pain because they often push their body’s limits, says Cannone, who has been a personal fitness trainer since 1998.

• Treating only the symptoms: Cortisone shots, anti-inflammatory drugs, ultrasound and electrical stimulation only address pain symptoms. “You may get rid of the pain, but the problem causing the pain will persist if not addressed,” he says. “If you want lasting relief, you must address the underlying causes, and it’s never just one.”

• Not understanding that back pain is a process: In most cases, back pain, neck pain and sciatica take weeks, months or even years to develop; the problem may exist for quite a while before the sufferer notices it, except for rare one-time trauma incidents like automobile accidents. Most people sit for hours at a time, yet the body was developed for diverse movements throughout the day. “Think of a car with steering out of alignment; eventually, tires will wear down unevenly and there will be a blow out,” Cannone says. “The same is true with your body.” Just as the damage was a process, recovery is the same and can be time-intensive.

• Believing there are no more options left: Not only does back pain hurt and prove physically debilitating; it also tries the morale and determination of the patient. A sufferer can run the gamut of treatments. But, often, it takes a cocktail of treatments that address all of the underlying causes. “Remember, you can’t really treat the root of pain until you know what’s causing it,” Cannone says. “In so many cases, this is precisely the problem.”

• Failing to take control: Doctors and other specialists are ultimately limited to what they know and what they’re used to. If you have a debilitating back problem, it should be among your top priorities to learn all you can about it, and how to fix it. Get a second, third and fourth opinion if treatment isn’t working; try out alternative therapies, and consider a healthy mix of treatment. Most importantly, take control; it’s your back, your body and only you can heal it, with help from others.

“I may be critical of how most handle back pain, but that’s because I’ve proven to patients that there are flaws in the traditional approaches as well as more effective alternatives,” Cannone says. “I also feel that I’m offering a hopeful message because of my high success rate in helping to cure the back pain from my clients.” 

About Jesse Cannone

Jesse Cannone is a leading back pain expert with a high rate of success for those he consults. He has been a personal trainer since 1998, specializing in finding root causes for chronic pain, and finding solutions with a multidiscipline approach. Cannone publishes the free email newsletter “Less Pain, More Life,” read by more than 400,000 worldwide, and he is the creator of Muscle Balance Therapy™.

 

Move it or lose it: 5 moves to put seniors back in the game — guest post by Karen Peterson

For Americans 65 and older, falling down can be the worst thing to happen to them, according to statistics from the National Council on Aging:

 One in three seniors experiences a significant fall each year
 Every 18 seconds, a senior is admitted into an emergency room after losing balance and hitting the ground
 Every 35 minutes, an elderly person dies from a fall — the leading cause of death for seniors

“The projected cost in health-care expenses for 2020 due to fall-related injuries in the United States is $55 billion,” says Karen Peterson, a therapist with multiple certifications, and author of “Move With Balance: Healthy Aging Activities for Brain and Body,” (www.MoveWithBalance.org). She’s also the founder and director of Giving Back, a nonprofit organization that grows and spreads programs that support senior health.

“It’s important for seniors to keep moving and learning, that’s what helps improve balance and coordination, and even helps build new neural pathways,” says Peterson, who emphasizes the cognitive importance to her workout programs. “But if you’re rather frail, or just very fearful of falling, you’re less likely to get up and move around.” These activities benefit all seniors, from 55 to 105.

Peterson says a fun, social program of games and activities that include exercises specifically designed for seniors helps them address multiple issues, including those that tend to keep seniors sedentary – which only lessens their strength and balance.

Last year, her program was independently evaluated from Hawaii’s Department of Heath, which found a statistically significant reduction in falls from seniors – 38 percent. It also won the MindAlert Award from the American Society on Aging.

“Seniors of all ages need to continually work on improving their balance, coordination, strength, vision and cognitive skills. When they do, they’re less likely to fall – and more able to enjoy life.”

Peterson suggests these moves, which address many different areas of the body:

• The cross-crawl: After various light warm-ups, begin with the basic cross-crawl, which focuses on the fundamentals of balance. March in place, lifting the knees high. At the same time, reach across and touch the lifted knee with the opposite hand or elbow; alternate and keep going. This can be done sitting, standing or lying down. Once any of these exercises are mastered, Peterson says, participants should continue to challenge themselves. For even greater balance work, and to exercise the vestibular system, close your eyes and count backwards from 100 by threes. “It’s not fun if you’re not conquering a challenge,” she says. Her book includes several challenges for each exercise.

• Forward toe-touch dancer: To improve motor skills, physical coordination and cognition, there are many dance exercises that are appropriate for seniors. If needed, use a chair for assistance. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, simultaneously extend your left foot and your right arm forward. Keep your left toes pointed down, touching the floor; or for more difficulty, maintain the toes a few inches off the floor. Repeat this move with your left arm and right foot. Hold each pose for several seconds, and increase holding time.

• Sensory integration – the arrow chart: Look at an arrow chart and call out the direction indicated by each individual symbol. Then, thrust your arms in that direction; in other words, say and do what the arrow indicates. For an additional challenge, do the opposite of what the arrow indicates.

• Side-step walk: Walk sidestepping – bring your right foot across the left and step down three to five inches away from the left foot, ankles crossed. The closer the feet, the harder it is to balance. Alternate crossing the foot in front and then behind the other foot as you move along; repeat several times, then do the same with opposite feet. As a bonus challenge, try a reading exercise from a vision card, designed for stimulating the brain/visual system, while sidestepping.

• The cat jump: This activity is practice in case of a fall; the muscle memory of the movement will be etched in your body. Bend your knees in a squat. Jump a little off the ground with both feet, and land softly, like a cat, without jarring your body. Repeat until you are confident in your ability to prevent a spill.

“Research shows that most falls are preventable,” Peterson says. “These and other exercises, performed regularly, are a great way to achieve safety and a revitalized lifestyle.”

About Karen Peterson

Karen Peterson is founder and director of Giving Back, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of elders through intergenerational mentoring. She has multiple certifications, including as a Brain Gym® instructor, educational kinesiologist, natural vision improvement instructor, Touch for Health instructor and a massage therapist. For 25 years, Peterson has been teaching these modalities to children, businesspeople, athletes, classroom teachers and adults of all ages and occupations.

Workplace stress and heart attack: Finding the proper Work-Play balance — guest post by Dr. Kevin Campbell

Cardiac operating room

Cardiac operating room (Photo credit: Ruhrfisch)

Americans are workaholics.  Most of us work 40+ hours a week, bring work home on the weekends and take as little as 2-4 weeks of vacation including holidays.   As cleverly addressed in an essay in the New Yorker in 2006, life in Europe is quite different; 7-8 weeks of vacation time is the norm.   Europeans seem to value leisure more whereas Americans tend to emphasize earning and spending.  Much has been written about how certain habits at work can harm our overall health.  In US News and World Report in July, seven habits that were considered to be health harmful were examined. Habits identified included eating at your desk, lack of exercise, all night work sessions just to name a few.  Now add excessive workplace stress to the list.

I was listening to NPR this weekend and was intrigued by a story from the Lancet on the relationship of on the job stress and increased risk of heart attack.  In this study, a meta analysis from 13 European cohort studies was performed and included nearly 200 thousand patients.  The study demonstrated a 23% increase in risk for cardiovascular events in patients whose jobs were considered stressful as compared to those who did not report workplace pressure.  Based on this report, reducing stress in the workplace could potentially reduce heart attacks by 3-4%.  Certainly, this potential for reduction is not really comparable to the 20-30% reduction in events that is conferred by smoking cessation but it is not insignificant.

Traditionally, stress has been thought to contribute to cardiovascular events by increasing sympathetic tone and causing the abundant release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.  These stress hormones may cause increased lipid (cholesterol) levels, increased tendencies for blood to clot and they may also promote the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries with subsequent vascular damage.   Blood pressure and heart rate are all increased in this state, all leading to increased demands by the heart and potential for ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart muscle).  Stress management techniques have been studied in the past and have been shown to result in decreased cardiovascular events.  A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2011 found that 36% of workers included in the study had experienced stress on the job.  Interestingly, the study participants cited lack of opportunities for advancement (43%), heavy workload (43%) unrealistic job expectations (40%) and long hours (39% ) as major stressors at work.

Much of the American worker’s self worth is measured by elite job titles, driving luxury cars and owning a large home in a prestigious community.  In Europe, the worker measures himself by having the ability to take extended holidays with friends and family.  In fact, US workers often fail to take allotted vacation time.   This may be due to the fear of losing traction towards advancement in the workplace or out of fear of being replaced by co-workers who did not take time away.  The US certainly remains the land of opportunity but many US workers have lost sight of the real American dream–the freedom to use our time as we see fit.  To enjoy family, friends and the lives we have worked so hard to build.

Much can be learned from the value that the Europeans place on leisure.  These workers make time away with family a priority.  Some studies of worker efficiency and productivity have shown superior performance and less burnout and depression in employees who take time for vacation and leisure.  Coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death are one of the leading causes of death in the US today (behind all types of cancers combined).  Certainly we can impact disease by eliminating smoking, eating well and exercising but we can also reduce events through better management of workplace stress.  Take time for family.  Take time to relax.  Return to work refreshed, re-energized and renewed.  Although workplace stress is an unavoidable reality in the US today, we must find ways mitigate stressors and this will ultimately improve both our productivity and overall quality of life.

Dr. Kevin Campbell Bio
Dr Kevin Ray Campbell was born and raised in North Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and graduated valedictorian in 1992. He attended medical school at Wake Forest University and graduated at the top of the class in 1996. Dr Campbell trained in Internal Medicine and completed his Internship and Residency at the University of Virginia in 1999. From there, he completed fellowships in bothCardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology at Duke University.

Dr Campbell joinedWake Heart and Vascular (WHV) in 2003 and became partner in 2006. He has served on the Executive Committee of the practice for 4 years. Dr. Campbell practices Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology in Raleigh, Smithfield and Wilson, North Carolina. Although he treats all aspects of cardiovascular disease, he specializes in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders, includingsupraventricular and ventricular tachycardias as well as sudden cardiac death. Dr Campbell is a nationally recognized expert in the implantation of Pacemakers, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators and Cardiac Resynchronization Devices. Beyond device implantation, DrCampbell also performs Electrophysiology studies (EPS) and radiofrequency ablations.

A nationally recognized expert in prevention of sudden cardiac death, Dr Campbell speaks all across the US to physicians, physicians in training, as well as civic groups. These dynamic symposia are designed to raise awareness and facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of women at risk for cardiovascular disease and death. His efforts have led to the creation of prevention programs in many cities across the US. Dr Campbell’s successes have been chronicled in the media in North Carolina and beyond and include television interviews, newspaper and magazine articles as well as a monthly call-in radio show that helps to promote these initiatives.